- Chicago Newstips by Community Media Workshop - http://www.newstips.org -

South Siders demand emergency care

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Friends, family and neighbors of a Woodlawn youth activist will gather tomorrow for what would have been his 18th birthday, marching from the spot where he was shot last month to the hospital two blocks away, where they say he should have been treated.

Damian Turner was shot just after midnight on August 15 at 61st and Cottage Grove, driven past the University of Chicago Medical Center and pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. at Northwestern Hospital.


Damian Turner

He’s one of hundreds of people shot on the South Side but taken to hospitals on the North and West Sides, according to Southside Together Organizing for Power [3].

“It is wrong for a hospital so close to where I live at to turn someone away so they have to drive many miles away,” said Sheila Rush, Turner’s mother.

Turner was a founder of Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY) and worked on affordable housing and on human rights issues at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, according to a release from STOP.

Activists from STOP and FLY are calling on UCMC to reopen its trauma center.  UCMC dropped out of the city’s trauma network in 1988, citing financial losses.

They’ll gather at 61st and Cottage tomorrow (Tuesday, September 28) at 3:30 p.m. and march to UCMC at 58th and Maryland, with a press conference scheduled for 4 p.m.

Last year the American College of Emergency Physicians [4]said UCMC “is failing in its obligation to treat emergency patients” with policies that are “dangerously close to ‘patient dumping.'”

UCMC’s reduction of emergency care access to the local community “is a dangerous precedent that could have catastrophic effects in poor neighborhoods across the county,” said Dr. Nick Jouriles, president of ACEP.